Slimming World: get support to lose weight, discover the health benefits and find classes in Edinburgh
And with temperatures potentially plummeting to minus 40 during the January trip, only four hours of daylight and nights spent under canvas, the fundraising venture is clearly no mission for the faint-hearted.
Add to that the task of pulling a 25-kilo kit on a sledge attached to her waist while wearing layers of extreme weather clothing and it’s easy to see why she’s packing 20 hand-warmers and other essentials.
But Nic’s marathon journey will help to light up the faces of children with life-threatening conditions when they get to meet Santa Claus in Lapland courtesy of the fundraising efforts of the 12-strong team tackling the icy expedition.
For Nic, who is also a Slimming World consultant, taking part in such an adventure is something that would never have been possible just a few years ago.
“My weight had gradually crept up and a doctor told me that I had a 30 per cent chance of having a heart attack because of high blood pressure,” she explained.
“I’d lost my dad and was feeling absolutely miserable when I signed up to a Slimming World class. That first day I was so nervous walking in but it was like a family get-together. There was no judgement, just a really warm welcome.”
And the feelgood factor continued as the new recruit stuck to the plan, buoyed up by group support, and managed to shed an impressive three stones. As well as boosting her motivation, the resulting health benefits have made a huge difference.
Fitness and stamina
“I’ve really built up my fitness and stamina and I’d never have been able to do this before I lost weight,” she acknowledged.
It was her sister-in-law, Claire Johnston from Hartlands, who suggested they should sign up for the 70k three-day trek and Nic agreed to think about it. Within half an hour she’d said yes and the serious training began.
Long walks, often over sand to prepare for tackling snow, Zumba sessions and the support of a personal trainer to increase strength have all been part of the preparation.
Support for the trek has come from across the Slimming World community with donations and special events adding to the coffers and Nic has been amazed and touched by people’s generosity.
Funds already stand at £6,000, almost twice her original goal. The money will go to the local branch of the charity When You Wish Upon a Star and people can donate via https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Nicola-Johnston33
Nic, who turned from Slimming World member to consultant after her own success, says the benefits for fellow slimmers are far-reaching. “It’s brilliant to watch them blossom and see how they might not need knee surgery any more or can improve control of their blood pressure or diabetes,” she added.
Nic’s classes take place at the Leonardo Hotel on Clermiston Road on Mondays at 5.30 and 7pm, Thursdays at 4.30, 6 and 7.30pm and on Friday mornings at 8.30 and 10am. To find out more, people can drop into a session, phone 07743 471946 or visit https://www.facebook.com/swnicjohnston